Posted in Contemporary, Young Adult

Judy Christie’s Wreath


What do you do when you’re too young to be on your own but have no one to turn to? Sixteen-year-old Wreath Willis makes a list: Find a place to live. Buy cheap food. Finish high school. Get a job. Go to college. Now she’s finishing high school by day and squatting in a junkyard by night, flying below the authorities’ radar while she makes a few awkward friends and searches for an illusory “good life.” But when a teacher grows too suspicious, Wreath is afraid she’ll have to move on before she graduates. Could it be this was a good life?


This novel was really unique to me. You have Wreath who is on the run and instead of going to a foster home for her last year of schooling she would rather live in a car in a junkyard (of course the fact that she is running from a scary guy might be a part of that reason as well). I thought there were moments in this book that were a little predictable, but there were moments in this book that were heart-wrenching as well. Wreath had a tough time and you couldn’t help but want to cheer her along as went. Throughout the novel you could see how God was there with her every step of the way because of all the people she met who cared about her. Though this novel introduced a love interest and had a few romantic like scenes, I would say this book was more about survival than some guy. An interesting book and certainly a learning experience. My heart goes out to those who find themselves in this situation and I can only pray that I act with the same grace that (most) people treated Wreath with. Recommended!

Posted in Historical, Young Adult

Cathy Gohlke’s Civil War Series


In William Henry is a Fine Name, they told Robert his best friend wasn’t human. Robert’s father assisted the Underground Railroad. His mother adamantly opposed abolition. His best friend was a black boy named William Henry. As a nation neared its boiling point, Robert found himself in his own painful conflict. The one thing he couldn’t do was nothing at all. William Henry is a coming-of-age story about a 12-year-old boy–and an entire country–that comes face to face with the evils of society, even within the walls of the church. In the safety of an uplifting friendship, he discovers the hope of a brighter day.
In I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, the bonds linking family and the lines separating enemies have become very blurry for 17-year-old Robert. With his father away fighting for the Union, Robert must decide to act alone in order to help his ailing mother, extricate his injured Confederate Uncle, and bring relief to his cousin, Emily. When he unwittingly gets entangled in a Confederate escape plot, Robert must forge his anger and shame into a new determination to save his family. And, perhaps, he must also realize that the saving might not be entirely up to him. Honor and duty to God and country aren’t as clear-cut as he hoped them to be.


I so enjoyed these two books! Of course it was during one of my favorite eras in history (I have so many)! Even my modern, up-to-date, little sister loves these books. Because it is two books, I will do a general review. I preferred the first book to the second, but Robert is such a wonderful character that you can’t read the first book without wanting to read the second one. The first book draws you in immediately and once again, since its from the point of view of a male, friendship is the theme. William Henry is the best friend any kid could have, and let me warn you, bring some tissue paper when you read this book! Spiritually, Robert is raised in a Christian home and knows Jesus young, but when he realizes that there is evil in this world still, it does tests his faith at moments. You should read both books to get the conclusion of his spiritual journey. Good book! Highly Recommended!

Posted in Historical, Young Adult

Heather and Lydia Munn’s How Huge the Night


Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.


This was such a good book! But then again I like reading about the World War II era and I love the south of France (I lived there for a semester). Julien is angry with his family for moving from Paris to the south of France. He doesn’t know anyone. On top of that, his parents take in a Jewish boy his age and though Nazis are not welcome in France, Jews are not exactly popular people at the moment. He feels that his humiliation is complete. This book is so complex and so interesting, I wish there was a book two. First layer: his parents survived WWI and they bring their own fears to the table, Second, Julien has to deal with bullies of the first rate. Third, Julien has to try not to become a bully himself toward the boy in his home. Fourth, Hitler is invading. Five, there is a subplot with a girl and her brother (Jewish) trying to find safety. So good. This book is about friendship as there is no real romance in the story, but you still can’t put it down. Julien has to learn to treat people the way God would have them be treated–which is hard to do on so many levels (especially in his era!), but his character is so complex and so real you can’t help but love Julien. Highly Recommended!

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Shannon Dittemore’s Angel Eyes


Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . . Angel Eyes

Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.
Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive.
So another angel book here! This one is pretty unique as (as far as I know right now!) neither Jake or Brielle are supernatural or half supernatural beings. They just hang with supernatural beings! I really enjoyed this book although some elements of it were familiar (new hot guy at school who is different, yet into the main character) though a lot of it was new. Brielle has had a hard time and I’m kind of glad that when she met Jake he wasn’t the cure all. Jake is quite simply a keeper. I don’t want to give too much away about this book, but Brielle and Jake have a way to see into the supernatural world and one thing they notice is that fear is something that oozes out of people and becomes their prison. It’s Satan’s signal that you are open for attack. How clever and so true. It definitely had me checking myself out to see if I was walking in fear about anything. So excited for the next one to come out. Highly Recommended!
Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Heather Burch’s Halflings


After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
I liked this book. I thought it was a lot of fun and there is nothing like a supernatural mystery to liven things up. The novel pulled me in from the first page and I was eager to know what happens next.  I’ve read a couple of books where boys are half-angels or fallen angels or something, but I like how these boys have guidance from a real angel. It keeps them and me the reader grounded. Nikki is a pretty bold character, but I like her and I look forward to learning more about her. The book does leave you with probably more questions than answers, but that is typical of a series. The drawback to this novel is that it does play on teen stereotypes: you have the two boys one girl thing going and one boy is typically “good” and the other is typically “bad.” Ms. Burch does give more depth to the boys, but there is stll that feeling that you’ve met these characters before. And again, the two guys one girl story never leaves me completely satisfied in the end, but it’s not over yet so I may be surprised. Spiritually, (I’m not going to address whether half-angels exist) Nikki has a choice to make in regards to faith, but I kind of like that Mace and Raven have to decide between their souls or their heart. Always better to choose God, He will surprise you and it’s always worth it in the end. But in reality the choice is never easy. I love that Will gets downloads from heaven, its always odd to read books about angels who never talk to God. Fun book, cool people (who wouldn’t want to date a guy with a few supernatural gifts), interesting mystery. Recommended!
Anybody else read books with angels (or some variation) as a main character? Got a favorite?
Posted in Historical, Young Adult

Melanie Dickerson’s Fairytales


The Merchant’s Daughter– An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a
wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse
who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made
even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has
made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery
is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to
preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense
of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to
confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in
grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands,
and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the
calling God has placed on her heart.

The Healer’s Apprentice-Two Hearts. One Hope. Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.


Who loves a fairytale? I do! I love, love, love a good fairytale so I was more than a little excited to discover that Melanie Dickerson was redoing some of the famous fairytales and I was not disappointed!. This will be a kind of general review. I loved both of these novels and really its a kind of a toss-up as to which one was my favorite, but I will go with The Merchant’s Daughter because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale (dad had to take me to see the Disney version 3 times when it came out and I was only 3). I just really like that the couple has to get to know one another first; that there has to be a solid foundation to the relationship. Of course, by redoing fairytales it’s a little predictable, but to me the only thing that’s predictable is the core of the story and that the guy and girl get together in the end. So great novels and though they are considered YA, neither of these books really feel YA to me. Highly Recommended! And I’m so excited for her verson of Snow White this December.

Anyone else a lover of fairytales? Got a favorite you would love to see redone?

Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Jill Williamson’s Replication: The Jason Experiment

When Your Life Is Not Your Own Martyr—otherwise known as Jason 3:3—is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to ‘expire’ in less than a month. To see the sky. Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars. As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures—the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he’s ever known.
I woke up at 4am in the morning to read this book (it had downloaded onto my kindle that morning) and it did not disappoint. I was sucked in immediately with the idea of hundreds of boys who are cloned and then terminated on their 18th birthday, and more than a little disappointed when it ended. Martyr is such a sweetheart that you can’t but love him from the beginning and Abby is the perfect girl for him. I enjoyed that the novel was set in Alaska (which is quite the environment). I liked that Martyr was like a blank page that needed to be filling; it added a lot of humor to the situation. I really liked that Abby had great faith in her youth leader and such a deep relationship with Christ that she passed it on to Martyr effortlessly. Great book, unique concept. Highly Recommended!
Also I have reviewed Ms. Williamson’s Blood of Kings Trilogy here:
And had the wonderful opportunity to interview her here:
Does anyone else have a favorite of Ms. Williamson? I’m pretty sure that this isn’t exactly dystopian, but does anyone else know of any similar books like this?
Posted in Contemporary, Young Adult

Krista McGee

First Date

The last thing Addy Davidson wants is to be on a reality TV show where the prize is a prom date with the President’s son.She’s focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn’t even audition for it. But she got selected anyway. So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show. Right before she realizes that the President’s son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him. Addy’s totally out of her comfort zone but that may be right where God can show her all that she was meant to be.

Starring Me

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. It’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is. Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do—like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together. Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment. And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all—in a story so big only He could write it.

  So this will be a general review of both books. Personally, I enjoyed First Date more than I enjoyed Starring Me. Ms. Mcgee uses biblical stories (in this case Esther and Isaac and Rebekah respectively) as a template for her novels. I guess I just feel like the story of Esther has more complexities and intracacies than Isaac and Rebekah. I thought she was able to play around with First Date more than Starring Me. That said, both are enjoyable reads. Of course they are predictable, but their fun. One thing I really enjoyed in these novels is the imporance Ms. Mcgee places on getting others saved, even as youth. Your faith should do the talking. Recommended!
Anyone else like Starring Me more than First Date? Do you like the idea of using Biblical narrative as a template?
Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Historical, Young Adult

Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time Series


Waterfall: Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one. Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved … and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know—and love itself. Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site … until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. And thus she comes to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?


I decided to just let you know what book one is about. This is one of those series that, in my opinion, must be read in order and you don’t want to know too much about the next book before you read the first. So, who likes time travel books? Me, me me! Waterfall is just pure gold: time-travel, knights in shining armor, realistic situations. Loved it. Gabi is such a great character. I love how she does what she must to fit in and yet, you can’t erase 21st century ways. She’s herself without being offensive (if that makes any sense). The only drawback I saw to these novels is that of course she and her sister were familiar with the old Italian language and they just happened to be excellent swordswoman/archers but in all fairness, they weren’t exactly Angelina Jolie. And the guys in these books? Well, lets just say they make me want to go back to Italy for a second look. A love triangle does pop up in one of these novels, and I’m not a huge fan because I liked both guys, but then you feel guilty, but then you want to shake things up a little, and at the end of the day I’m like was that necessary? It certainly added a new layer of tension to the story though. The last tidbit that I love about these books is that war is real in these novels. It’s not fluff and that gives these stories even more substance. Spiritually, Gabi must learn to trust God, but this is a thread that is interwoven throughout these novels as well as the last two that aren’t mentioned. Highly Recommended!

PS. Here is my other review of Tributary:

and Glamorous Illusions, another YA book by Ms. Bergren (also excellent!):

Does anyone have a favorite by Ms. Bergren? Did anyone really love the love triangle?

Posted in Contemporary, Young Adult

Jenny B. Jones’s The Charmed Life


There are three boooks in this series.

So Not Happening – New York’s social darling just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma. Bella had it all. Then her father decided to trade her mother in for a newer model. When her mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet, Bella has to move in with her new family in Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less! How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God appears to be giving her the total smack down?

I’m So Sure – Think you’re having a rough week? Bella’s stepdad just signed the family up for a reality TV show. As if having a camera crew following her around isn’t bad enough, Bella discovers a conspiracy against the prom queen candidates. Denying allegations of a love triangle, working to solve the prom queen mystery, and trying to keep her cool on national television finally motivate Bella to start talking—and listening—to God more.

So Over My Head – Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes—Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown. When the carnival arrives in
Truman, Bella’s reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend’s ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle.


Jenny B Jones’ books are the first set of YA I began reading when I realized they might actually be good. It started with my little sis’s birthday. I thought that I would buy her a Christian YA set of books to read. I did. But then I decided to read them first before I wrapped them…and then I decided to buy her shoes. Love this series! It’s so hilarious! Bella is a fun character that you can’t help but like, and Luke? What a great male role. Ms. Jones manages to deal with teenage problems and feelings with divorce, relationship break-up, and a distant father, in a great way. I love that her teens are not that complicated, maybe because I don’t remember being a teenager as having extra complications in life. Idk. The only drawback is that the mysteries have Bella doing some things I don’t quite think teens would do, but it works, so I’m good. Spiritually, Bella has to learn that God’s way of doing things is not our way and that God isn’t like our natural father. He’s better.

Ms. Jones has another series and another stand alone: A Katie Parker Production and There You’ll find Me. I recommend those series/book as well, The Charmed Life is simply my favorite. Highly Recommended!